Skip Navigation

The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

US Department Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
IREC North Carolina Solar Center
Home Glossary Links FAQs Contact About Twitter    Facebook


Incentives/Policies for Renewable Energy

Printable Version
Solar Volumetric Incentive and Payments Program   

Last DSIRE Review: 09/26/2014
Program Overview:
State: Oregon
Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential
Amount:Varies, depending on system size and geographic zone
Terms:Incentive rate will be set at time of enrollment and payment will be made for kilowatt-hours generated over 15 years
Eligible System Size:Systems must be 500 kW or less
Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:RECs transfer to utility and are associated with the energy provided by the contracted systems.
Start Date:7/1/2010
Expiration Date:3/31/2016, or when program cap is reached
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Effective:
ORS ยง 757.365
Authority 2:
Date Effective:
Or. Admin. R. 860-084-0100 et. seq.
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
OR PUC Order No. 10-198
5/28/2010, subsequently amended
Authority 4:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
OR PUC Order No. 10-200
Authority 5:
Date Enacted:
OR PUC Order No. 11-339
Authority 6:
Date Enacted:
Date Effective:
OR PUC Order No. 12-325

NOTE: HB 2893, enacted in May 2013, increased the capacity of the Solar Incentive Rate Pilot Program and extended the program through March, 2016, or until program capacity is filled. The most recent enrollment window (April 1, 2014), has closed. Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, and Idaho Power are not currently accepting applications for the volumetric incentive program. There are currently no plans for an enrollment window in the fall of 2014, but a window will open May 1, 2015 to fill any remaining program capacity. 


In June 2009, Oregon established a pilot solar volumetric incentive rate and payment program.* Under this incentive program, systems of up to 500 kilowatts (kW) are paid for the kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated over a 15 year period, at a rate set at the time a system is initially enrolled in the program. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) established rates and rules in May 2010. This program must be offered by the three investor-owned utilities in Oregon and will be administered by the utilities, though the PUC will periodically re-evaluate rates. The program costs are recoverable in utility rates and utility-owned systems are not allowed to receive the incentive.

In May 2013, the program cap was increased from 25 megawatts (MW) to 27.5 MW, and the deadline for the program was extended to March 31, 2016. The original 25 MW aggregate program cap was divided by utility based on 2008 retail sales revenue, with specific sub-allocations for small, medium, and large scale systems. Portland General Electric (PGE) had a total allocation of 14.9 MW, Pacific Power had 9.8 MW, and Idaho Power had 0.4 MW (limited to residential systems under 10 kW). The additional 2.5 MW capacity added in 2013 has been allocated as follows:

  • PGE: 1,433 kW (860 small/573 medium)
  • Pacific Power: 1,012 kW (607 small/405 medium)
  • Idaho Power: 55 kW (all small)

Rates differ by system size and geographic zone, and are re-evaluated for every enrollment window. Small- and medium-scale systems participate in a program that is modeled after net metering, where customers are paid for the amount of utility electric load consumption that is offset by on-site solar photovoltaic generation. The incentive paid to the customer is the volumetric incentive rate minus the retail rate. Participating PV systems must be sized no larger than 90 percent of historical energy usage for a home or business, must be grid-connected, metered, and meet all applicable codes and regulations. Systems must be "permanently installed" and must  remain in service for the entire useful life.  After the 15 year contract ends, systems may continue to be paid for electricity generation, with the rate based on the "resource value." As defined by the legislation, the resource value is determined by the avoided cost of energy and the avoided cost of transmission and distribution.

Systems receiving the incentive payment may have reduced eligibility for some other state incentives. Systems may either take the incentive payment or the state tax credit and Energy Trust rebate; systems are not eligible for the incentive payment and the tax credit and rebate. Enrollment in the pilot program will be closed when the 27.5 MW cap is reached, or on March 31, 2016, whichever is earlier.

Small Systems

The original program did not specify a minimum size for eligible systems, but HB 2893 specifically refers to systems with a nameplate capacity between five and 100 kW; therefore, all projects receiving incentives in 2014 and later must be greater than 5 kW. While initially program capacity for small and medium system was allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, it is now done by lottery for small systems.

Current Volumetric Incentive Rates for Small Systems (5-10 kw) are as follows:

Zone  Counties Electric Companies Incentive Rates as of 01/22/2013**
1 Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill Pacific Power and PGE $0.39/kWh
2 Coos, Douglas and Hood River Pacific Power and PGE $0.252/kWh
3 Gilliam, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Wallowa and Wasco Pacific Power $0.252/kWh
4 Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur and Harney Pacific Power and Idaho Power $0.23/kWh


Medium Systems

Medium sized systems are between 10 and 100 kW in nameplate capacity. The process for setting the incentive amounts for medium sized systems alternates between competitive bids and a lottery with rates set by the PUC. Rates were set in October 2013 by competitive bid; for the April 2014 enrollment window, PUC has set the rates as the average of winning bids from October:

Zone  Incentive Rates as of 01/22/2013**
1 $0.175/kWh
2 $0.16/kWh
3 $0.16/kWh
4 $0.16/kWh


Large Systems

Systems sized larger than 100 kW can participate in the competitive bidding portion of this program. Utilities issue a request for proposals once per year. At that time, systems can put in a bid to participate and winning bids will be selected based solely on price factors. The actual rate paid will be determined by bids received and will be set at the time of enrollment.

Prior to the April 2014 enrollment window, the remaining capacity allocated for large systems was too small to generate large projects, so the PUC added this capacity allocation to the medium size class. The most recent winning bids for large systems were just under $0.11/kWh.


*While certain legislative bills referenced the development of a "solar feed-in tariff", the rules and rates for this program were to be determined by the PUC. Due to concerns regarding FERC jurisdiction and the ability of the state to set rates for the feed-in tariff, the current pilot program differs from a typical "feed-in tariff".

**The actual rate paid to small-scale systems will be the volumetric incentive rate listed minus the retail rate, as these systems are participating in the net metering option and are being paid for offsetting consumption.

NCSU - home
Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.